Now that the frenzy has ended, I’ve been asked by quite a few people to share my thoughts on the recent salary increases. I’ll start this off by answering some of the most common questions I got.
Mr. Q! You’re rich now! When are you getting that Ferrari?
First of all no I’m not. Second of all, it’s a Porsche -_- On a serious note NOT all Qataris got the salary increase!
So who does the salary increase apply to?
It’s not really black and white. It was initially given to government employees. That meant that those in the private sector weren’t part of the salary increase. However since the annoucement, a lot of companies in the private sector have followed suit. 1) It does make them look good to follow an Emiri Decree and 2) Some didn’t really have a choice (mostly the larger private entities).
Ok tell us, how much did Qataris in the government get?
For state civilian employees they got a 60% increase on their basic salary and social allowance
For Military personnel it’s a 50% increase on their basic and social allowance
For Military personnel of an officer rank, they get a 120% increase on their basic and social allowance.
Nice huh? Makes you want to think about joining the army.
No seriously, how much did Qataris REALLY get?
It’s no joke. Don’t believe me? Check out Emiri decision No. 50 of 2011.
So that’s over DOUBLE their salary!
Wrong! It’s 60% of BASIC and SOCIAL. Let’s say your salary is 10k. Your basic is 4k. Your social is 1k. Your remainder salary is made up of housing, transportation, etc… In this case you get 60% of 5k. That’s 3k or a 30% pay increase overall. Of course this is just an example
Anything else you want to mention?
It’s not just salaries. Government employees also get their pensions to go up by 60% and Military by 50% or 120% depending on their rank.
Why did they do this… It doesn’t make sense!
A lot of things don’t make sense in this world, but there’s actually a good reason for all of this! First of all, lets start from the beginning. Government employees actually had their salaries ‘balanced’ two years ago to comply with their new grading scheme. For some people it was great, for others… it made life really tough. If you were a junior staff at 15k, you could have been dropped to as low as 7k per month. That’s a 50% decrease. Some people’s salaries went up though but only by a small margin. So if you look at the 60% pay increase, they’re probably back to where they were. Of course I’m talking about the people who were affected negatively. To be honest, many people especially in the Military were known to have received extremely low salaries and they definitely did deserve more.
How much is this going to cost the government then?
A cool 10 billion riyals a year (that doesn’t include the extra 10 billion given to the pensions fund and 10 billion to the retirees’ subscriptions.
How do you feel about this Mr. Q?
You want to know? Well I’ve got mixed emotions to be honest.
Now here are my thoughts from a number of different angles…
As a citizen, it’s great to know that the government is there to take care of it’s people. It’s nice to feel that my country care about government officials so much. I do think that it would have been great to have spent 10billion riyals on training government workers so that they could work much more effectively though (just thinking about my own experience with simple processes here). The cost of living has definitely increased significantly in the passed few years. Building a house is near impossible and a decent price anymore.
However as someone who works in the private sector,I’m left thinking, “What about me?”. I studied hard. I went to university to get my degree. I came back and worked in the private sector. I proved that I was a hard worker, dedicated, and was set to prove that Qataris are ready to make a difference in the world. So why aren’t I being rewarded as well? In fact, are we giving the wrong message to the new generation? Come and get a cushy government job. Aren’t we trying to build a knowledge based economy? One that will encourage start ups, Qatari entrepreneurs, and see a growth in SMEs? Why would a youngster create his own businesses now when he can get a great salary working in a government job? Despite all of that, I’m still left thinking “what about me?”.
As someone who cares about the economy, a couple of days after the announcement, shops didn’t waste their time. I received BBM notifications constantly about the different shops that raised their prices. The government had already threatened companies with fines if they raised their prices and also set up a hotline for people to report it, but that didn’t stop many. Car washes raised their prices, restaurants raised their prices, cold stores raised their prices, everybody was doing it! Some people said, “It’s only a couple of riyals”, no it’s not! It all ads up! This my dear friends is what causes INFLATION. Many Qataris started to complain about this; online forums, BBM, and the newspapers published article after article of examples in price rises. Well if the people who got the pay rise are complaining, what about the Qataris or the exapts that didn’t get the pay rise?
What I don’t understand is why didn’t the just give government employees a pay rise quietly? Alright it might have been difficult to contain that one, but what about Kuwait’s solution? They got rid of Kuwaiti’s debts (up to a certain amount). I’m pretty sure that would have helped out more, and would have been fairer on all of us.
From the point of view of a private business owner, there are LOADS of problems here; Qatarization was hard enough! Now companies have to compete with the government too! I don’t really want to think about this one…. Let’s start with listed companies, they have a duty and a responsibility to share-holders. If a private company increases Qataris salaries, that dips into the shareholders pockets. It would be fair to say that it would be in the companies best interest NOT to hire Qataris to reduce cost (that can’t happen though since Qatarization is not an option). I’ll give you a really simple example. You own a business that sells Land Cruisers (had to slip that one in. Heh.). Everything’s going well, but now you have to cut into your own profits to increase your employees salaries. They’re not really doing any more work than they signed up for. Inflation is only up by 10% but you have to give them 60% increase. Now the funny thing is, you understand where I’m going with here, but I’ll bet you still want to be that person with the 60% pay increase. Am I right? Don’t worry, it’s human nature.
Point of view of the expat, “That’s not fair, what about us? We work harder than Qataris! We deserve more too!”, the people scream on one particular forum that shall not be named. You know what I say to them? Don’t like it? Tough! I’m sorry but it really gets my blood boiling. I feel like Qatar is the only country in the world where some expats (Most of the ones I personally know are awesome btw!) discriminate against the locals! They come to Qatar, live quite a comfortable life, more comfortable than back where they live, their governments probably tax the hell out of them, and then they complain that they deserve more. Think about this logically, wherever you are from and imagine that a foreigner comes to your country and feels entitled to more; not the same (I believe in equality), but more than the locals…
I’m sorry but shouldn’t you be demanding more from your own country? Looks to me that we’re in a new age where the new saying is “Ask not what you can do for your country but what your country can do for you.” and not the other way around.
So what should those who got the pay rise do now? Splurge? Obviously not. The best thing would be for them to invest their new income in something that will give them a safe future. I don’t know put it in a savings account, invest in stocks, start your own little business, SOMETHING, that doesn’t encourage un-necessary inflation please!
I’ll end this quick piece with with what one of my favourite users on ILQ said (TimeBandit), and I think it sums it all up nicely.
“Hey I don’t pay tax, so I don’t care what the government does with its money. I just want a job, on commission, working for a car dealership ASAP.”
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